Thursday, January 5, 2012
Two in custody; one still at large
By SUE WATSON
Two suspects have been apprehended in the Christmas Day drive-by shooting into an automobile on Highway 72 and a third is still on the lam, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
He said Rico R. Fleming, 22, of the Moscow, Tenn., area, is still at large.
Investigators picked up a 16-year-old suspect in the investigation last Thursday in Fayette County, Tenn. The juvenile is likely to go before youth court first and is being detained in juvenile detention awaiting a determination of whether or not he can be treated as an adult. The teen’s name will not be released unless he is certified as an adult in connection with the incident.
Dickerson said the youth is highly believed to have been the driver of the vehicle that pulled alongside a Silver Mercury in a pursuit after leaving a service station on Highway 72 early Christmas morning. He said individuals on the passenger side, both front and rear, are believed to have fired into the Mercury following words and disputes that apparently took place initially at a Slayden nightclub.
The drive-by shooting is believed to be connected with gang rivalries, he said.
Of the six passengers in the victims’ car, one person was shot and killed and four others injured. One of the victims was airlifted to The Med following the incident and four were treated on the scene. One individual in the victim’ car was not injured, the sheriff said.
Sixteen-year-old Derica Patterson of Memphis, Tenn., was struck with a round from an assault rifle fired from the suspects’ vehicle and was dead on the scene. Her brother, Derrick, was also injured.
One suspect, Cory Albright, 31, of the Rossville, Tenn., area, was arrested Tuesday night of last week at a Memphis area home where the vehicle believed to have been used in the drive-by was also found.
Dickerson said investigators, following up tips they received about Albright’s whereabouts, approached the house where the suspect was staying. Someone opened the door after seeing police and law enforcement presence, he said.
“We asked if Albright was inside and they said, ‘yes,’ ” Dickerson said.
Albright came out of the house and surrendered himself to authorities, including investigators with the Marshall and Shelby County sheriff’s departments, federal officers with the Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force (U.S. Marshals) and Memphis Police officers.
Albright was brought to the Marshall County jail and an initial appearance was held on the murder charge Friday before justice court judge Ernest Cunningham, who set bond at $1 million.
Albright and Fleming are each charged with murder in the death of Derica Patterson and the 16-year-old’s alleged involvement has not been released since the teenager may be treated as a juvenile, Dickerson said. Under Mississippi law, a juvenile’s identity must be protected unless the teen is treated as an adult due to special circumstances.
Dickerson said the primary murder suspect is believed to be Fleming, who is still at large. At the present time, no other suspects have been identified.
A substantial reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Fleming, he said.
He praised agency cooperation – his own investigative team, the Fayette County and Shelby County sheriff’s departments, officers with the Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force and Memphis Police officers for long and fruitful hours spent in investigating the crime beginning Christmas Day and continuing throughout last week.
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